Emily Bell on the future of journalism

The Root of the Matter posts a very lucid account of a lecture on the future of journalism given by Emily Bell, head of digital content at the Guardian. Emily, who is now also a visiting professor at University College Falmouth, said there were clear pointers to the future:

  • Journalism will go where the audience is (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or whatever comes next)
  • It will be networked not siloed (acting as a pointer to good content as much as creating it from scratch)
  • Journalists will have to be very trustworthy – transparency will be king
  • Journalists will have to readily share information
  • Journalism will no longer be possible without an audience

Her other thought was that journalism will never show a profit – it has been subsidised in the past and this will continue. Oh, and people will never pay for news. Not sure I agree in a B2B context, but she’s probably right for the mainstream media.

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2 thoughts on “Emily Bell on the future of journalism”

  1. Hi Jim, just on the last bit, I believe Emily was saying that people won’t pay for news *online*. News orgs have tried putting up paywalls in the past but these have failed to generate decent revenues. Which puts this bombshell from Rupert Murdoch in an interesting context.

  2. I doubt that Rupert Murdoch will succeed in persuading large numbers to pay for news, even if the WSJ experience persuades him it will. I think Emily is exactly right that mainstream consumer news will be free and subsidised in some way or other, as she suggests. However, I do think b2b publishers still do have an opportunity to extract payment for targeted and comprehensive news coverage of specific niches – as we’ve proved over the last 10 years or more with http://www.egi.co.uk, http://www.icis.com and http://www.rati.com, for example. Is there a lesson here for consumer news? – I don’t know

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